Book Ratings

Book ratings explained:

* I didn't like it | ** It was OK | *** I liked it | **** I really liked it | ***** I loved it

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Title of sixth Harry Potter book revealed

Just in case someone in the known world hasn't heard yet. I think it's an interesting title and it opens up things for interesting speculation.

And just to make things interesting (since I haven't used that word enough in this post), I've added a little poll to the sidebar at the bottom. Tell me what you think of the title.


Got you wondering, don't I? Actually, I just like the way that word rolls off the tongue. And it doesn't sound like what it means. It sounds as if it should be the diminutive for something, a food type thing maybe. But quisling is actually another word for traitor. It is derived from Vidkun Quisling, a Norwegian politician and officer, who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Literary Lion

A hungry African lion was roaming through the jungle looking for something to eat. He came across two men. One was sitting under a tree and reading a book; the other was typing away on his typewriter. The lion quickly pounced on the man reading the book and devoured him.

Even the king of the jungle knows readers digest and writers cramp.
The Hedge Knight (The Hedge Knight Graphic Novels, #1)The Hedge Knight by Ben Avery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Link to

Monday, June 28, 2004

Cool . . .

. . . Need I say more?

Color me waiting to be happy

The nice A/C repairman just left and he has fixed the problem with the A/C. He climbed thither and yon and jiggled things and flipped breakers and now there is coolish air coming out the vents. He assures me that by the time I get back home from work tonight the house will be nice and cool.

However, the smoke detector in the hallway was making that irritating chirping noise so now I have to hunt down 9 volt batteries on my way home from work later.

It will be nice not to sweat the small stuff once the house cools down.

Happy overheated smiley

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Color me annoyed

You know that A/C unit I had replaced on Thursday? Guess what it isn't doing tonight?

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Miss Muggles

Miss Muggles, whose real name is Rainbow Marie, is the third cat to join my household. Technically, she belongs to my son Alex. She came home with us on May 22, 2004. That was the day we attended the memorial service for my niece Sydney Marie, aged six, who had died a week and a half earlier from the effects of an inoperable brain tumor. It was Sydney who'd named the kitten Rainbow Marie.

I think Miss Muggles is quite a clever little creature. She sits and watches and speculates. She's also fairly well behaved . . . for a kitten. She understands "no" and will stop what she's doing to look at you. Of course, if she can't see you looking at her, she goes right back to doing whatever it was she wasn't supposed to be doing.

She and Mouse are inseparable and prone to tearing through the house like demented demons on speed. One of their favorite places to wrestle is in the curve of my leg as I nestle on the sofa to read or watch TV. That's also one of their favorite places to nap.

None of the pictures I've taken of Miss Muggles yet does her justice. I can't quite capture her where her markings are shown to advantage. I spent a goodly part of the morning of June 20th trying to snap her picture. There were several that would have been priceless if I'd been able to get them, but what I got instead were quite a few really good shots of where she wasn't. I don't think she's quite the diva camera hound that Mouse is.

Miss Muggles taking a rest

I've been scalped!

I finally got tired of that mess of once brown now mostly grey hair I'd let grow untended for the last couple of years. My hair is actually shorter than my son's which he noticed immediately I came back home from the salon. I feel so much better now that mess of mass is gone! Yipee!

Silly Smiley

Friday, June 25, 2004

Gray Matter Exercises

1. A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven't eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him?

2. A woman shoots her husband. Then she holds him under water for over 5 minutes. Finally, she hangs him. But 5 minutes later they both go out together and enjoy a wonderful dinner together. How can this be?

3. There are two plastic jugs filled with water. How could you put all of this water into a barrel, without using the jugs or any dividers, and still tell which water came from which jug?

4. What is black when you buy it, red when you use it, and gray when you throw it away?

5. Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday?

6. This is an unusual paragraph. I'm curious how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it. It looks so plain you would think nothing was wrong with it. In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is unusual though. Study it, and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out.

(I received this in an email from the Mike Resnick list I subscribe to - To check your answers, read the first comment.)


Goblin is the second cat to join my household. I got her in October, 1996, for my birthday. She was a present from my best friend (Roseunicorn) who asked me what I wanted. For some reason that I still do not to this day understand, I told her I wanted a cat for Annie. So we went to a local pet shop and picked out a kitten. The papers I got for Goblin at the time listed her birthday as July 18 so she'll be a grand dame of 8 in just a couple of weeks.

Unlike Annie, Goblin didn't come with a name and she wasn't very forthcoming with telling me what hers was. I pulled out my baby name book to see if something would inspire me. After much page turning, I settled on Gabby. However, two days after I brought her home, she was being the cat from hell, tearing through the apartment and racing up and over all the furniture. She took a flying leap at the blinds and I yelled at her, "Goblin, get off!" And that, as they say, is history.

Where Annie is a delicate lady, Goblin is a charging rhino. Where Annie has all the feline grace assigned a cat, Goblin has the grace of a Saint Bernard. Where Annie has porked up to a hefty 7.5 pounds, Goblin has grown to an amazing 13.9 pounds. I think this helps explain why my pet name for her is Gobzilla.

Black cat named Goblin lounging on a cat carrier

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Houston, we have lift off

Or maybe that should be touchdown. The A/C people left about an hour ago and I have deliciously cool air coming out of vents all over the house as well as screws, insulation material, and a funny not-quite smell. The kittens have been freed, Annie is out from under the sofa, and Goblin is still napping on top of my cross stitch stash box. Life would be perfect if not for one tiny little thing . . . my phone stopped working . . . sort of.

The drop that goes into the living room, where the master phone base was, has stopped functioning. No amount of crawling around the attic looking at phone wires with the nice A/C repairman gave either of us a clue as to why. We did discover that the other two phone drops in the house work perfectly. So the master base has been moved into the bedroom and the slave base has been moved into the living room and now there is phone service again.

But I'm still mildly annoyed that the phone drop has gone dead.

DAW 30th Anniversary Science FictionDAW 30th Anniversary Science Fiction by Elizabeth R. Wollheim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The anthology had four stories I liked for the same reasons as I liked the fantasy stories. It almost goes without saying that I liked C. J. Cherryh's The Sandman, the Tinman, and the BettyB. I don't think I've ever read anything by Ms. Cherryh that I didn't like. I was very pleasantly surprised by Timothy Zahn's The Big Picture. Unfortunately, I associated Timothy Zahn with writing professional Star Wars fan fiction (none of which I have ever read) so I was expecting something . . . well . . . bad. I am very happy to realize Mr. Zahn is really a very good writer. Like the Valdemar story in the Fantasy Anthology, Tad Williams' Not With a Whimper, Either is an excellent story (my favorite in the book, in fact), but the end truly does justify the means. And lastly, but not leastly, I liked Downtime by C. S. Friedman. That story adds new dimension to the alienation of parents and children. It was very creepy.
Dying Of The LightDying Of The Light by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Link to

And, lo, a noise from above

The A/C people are still here. There are strange and mysterious sounds issuing from the attic and the garage. I've locked the two kittens away because one of them (Mouse, of course) was far too curious about what was going on and the other would soon have bucked up her courage and gone 'sploring as well. Annie is hiding under the sofa and refuses to come out, and Goblin is stretched on top of my cross stitch stash box napping away as if strange noise routinely issued from the ceiling. Me? Between the coughing and being unable to breathe, well, let's just say I'm not having fun.

We are the Borg. You have been assimilated.

I say, Noah, where'd you park the boat?

It is raining. Again. Still. According to the weather report, it will rain for the next seven days.

And the A/C people are here to replace the unit. In the rain. With occasional thunder and lightning.

Sometimes I just wonder . . .

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Look, Mr. Freeze! The Caped Crusader finally arrived

. . . and left. The A/C repairman showed up at almost 7 p.m. I climbed around with him looking at all the things that were either already broken or on the verge of breaking. The goods news is, I get another day off work. Bad news is, I get to spend it watching workmen replace my entire A/C system.

Oh, the joys of homeownership!

Not just sick

. . . but stuck in a house without air conditioning as well. It went out yesterday and it is sweltering. I have a service call in but I haven't heard back from the tech to actually schedule a visit to find out what's wrong. If I could actually sit up for more than a bit here and a bit there, I would go in to work just to get cool.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The truck that ran over me yesterday

. . . has backed up and parked on me today. Still very much sick so Goblin will have to wait another day.

Monday, June 21, 2004

But sick and tired isn't sick and tired of me

If anything, I feel very much worse than I did this afternoon. I was going to put up a picture of Goblin, but I can barely sit here and type so Goblin will have to wait until tomorrow.

Now that I've moaned about being sick

. . . here's a bit of humor I found in my mailbox this morning . . . um, afternoon . . . It is afternoon, isn't it?

Murder Trial

A defendant was on trial for murder. There was strong evidence indicating guilt, but there was no corpse. In the defense's closing statement the lawyer, knowing that his client would probably be convicted, resorted to a trick.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a surprise for you all," the lawyer said as he looked at his watch. "Within one minute, the person presumed dead in this case will walk into this courtroom." He looked toward the courtroom door. The jurors, somewhat stunned, all looked on eagerly. A minute passed. Nothing happened.

Finally the lawyer said, "Actually, I made up the previous statement. But, you all looked on with anticipation. I therefore put to you that you have a reasonable doubt in this case as to whether anyone was killed and insist that you return a verdict of not guilty."

The jury, clearly confused, retired to deliberate. A few minutes later, the jury returned and pronounced a verdict of guilty.

"But how?" inquired the lawyer. "You must have had some doubt; I saw all of you stare at the door."

The jury foreman replied, "Oh, we looked--but your client didn't."

Little Devil

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired

I don't know if what I have is a cold or 'flu or just a nasty allergy flare up, but I think what the dog drug up and what the cat buried feel much, much better than what I do. I've been miserable all weekend with this whatever it is thing getting worse and worse every day. I'm inclined to think it's allergies because we have just moved into a new building at work, a building in which they were still painting and laying floor tile all week long. Not to mention all the dust from packing and unpacking. Ooooohhhhh, I'm just so miserable. Feel sorry for me.

Little Green Alien

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Not With a Whimper, Either

. . . by Tad Williams, short story contained in the DAW 30th Anniversary Science Fiction Anthology.



Annie is the first cat I added to my household after I divorced. I got her in October, 1995. I think she must have been about 10 or 12 weeks old at the time based on her size and general development. Some friends had found her wandering lost and bedraggled in a parking lot, so they picked her up and took her home. At the time, they already had 9 or 10 cats gracing their household so they asked me to take her. I reluctantly agreed. I'd only been divorced about a year and was living in an apartment and I just couldn't imagine leaving a kitten alone all day while I was at work. But took her I did.

Chris and Kerry had named her Annabelle, but the name just didn't suit her. It was too big for the little cat she was. The minute she entered my apartment and planted herself on my chest to nap, she became Annie.

As you can see from the picture, Annie has orange points. After some discussion on the topic at Shadowmarch, I've come to the conclusion that Annie is a red point traditional colorpoint shorthair mix. (Colorpoint shorthair is the American term for a Siamese whose points are a color other than the standard four recognized for a Siamese.) Although you cannot see it in this picture of her, she has slightly almond shaped eyes of an amazingly speckled blue.

Annie sitting on a cardboard box eyeing the kittens who are off camera

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Mouse in the house

Not that kind, silly. My kind. My son Alex interrupted her roll in the catnip to snap her picture.

Mouse caught rolling in catnip

Friday, June 18, 2004

One of those emails

You know the kind. They've been emailed by everyone in the known universe to everyone else in the known universe . . . twice . . . on all the days of the week ending in 'y'. Normally I read and delete but this one just plain annoyed me. Don't get me wrong. I'm not really annoyed with the person who sent it to me. I'm just royally ticked off at the person who started it. Before I say more, here it is:


Don't buy Pepsi in the new can. Pepsi has a new "patriotic" can coming out with pictures of the Empire State Bldg. and the Pledge of Allegiance on them. However, Pepsi left out two little words on the pledge, "Under God". Pepsi said they did not want to offend anyone. If this is true, then we don't want to offend anyone at the Pepsi corporate office. If we do not buy any Pepsi product, they will not be offended when they receive our money that has the words " In God we trust " on it.


How fast can I forward this one? At the speed of never, thank you for asking. I don't actually drink Pepsi so I have no idea if Pepsi is or has produced a can as described or what Pepsi's motives are for doing whatever it is they did or didn't, will or won't do. What I do know is that the words "under God" were not - let me repeat that - the words "under God" were not in the Pledge of Allegiance as originally penned in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, nor were they in there in 1945 when the pledge was officially recognized as a symbol of the U. S. It was not until 1954 that the words were added by Congress at the petition of the Knights of Columbus. The words were added to distinguish god-fearing America from the atheist Soviet Union during the height of the Red Scare fueled by McCarthy and his ilk.

When all is said and done, bottom line, those two words have nothing to do with God or divinity by whatever word you choose to use. They are the by-product of a witch hunt that ruined countless lives and fostered an attitude of hostility, prejudice, and persecution that is still alive and well today. But we're no longer hunting pinko commies. We're going after anyone who dares to have an opinion contrary to whatever the Bandwagon Opinion of the Week is. We're going after people who dare to ask 'why' and who won't settle for 'because' as an answer. Phrased the way it is, that email is nothing more than petty hate mail. It earns the original scribe nothing more than my contempt.

And having ranted like a lunatic raving at the moon, let me leave you with one last thought . . .

Do you know what salute was originally intended to be used when saying the Pledge of Allegiance?



Let me give you a hint . . . it was similar to one used to salute an Austrian man who came to power in Germany.

Sigh . . . .

Your Husband Generator by Lady_Galadriel
Your Husband Is
You Metin the park
You Have0 children but 7 pets
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Ina country house
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Created with the ORIGINAL MemeGen!

! Cat Fight !

Miss Muggles, my tortoise shell kitten, and Mouse, my white kitten, were captured by my son Alex as they tussled in the catnip.

Miss Muggles and Mouse having a tussle in the catnip

I think they are just too cute for words and so I'm making the world suffer by putting up pictures of them everywhere.

Grey cat lapping milk

It should have been good night, but it's good morning instead

I was going to sign off with this joke last night, but the nasty compu-grinch wouldn't let me so it will have to be the thought that starts the day. I don't remember where I got it from so I can't give proper credit where it is due. I hope whoever originated it will forgive me for sharing.

Texas Women

Three men were sitting together bragging about how they had set their new wives straight on their duties.

The first man had married a woman from Oklahoma. He bragged that he had told his wife to do all the dishes and clean the house. He said that it took her a couple of days, but on the third day he came home to a clean house and the dishes were all washed and put away.

The second man had married a woman from Arkansas. He bragged that he had given his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes, and the cooking. He told the men that the first day he didn't see any results, but by the next day it was better, and on the third day, his house was clean, the dishes were done and he had a huge dinner on the table.

The third man had married a Texas girl. He boasted that he told her his house was to be cleaned, dishes washed, the cooking done and laundry folded. And this was all her responsibility. He said the first day he didn't see anything and the second day he didn't see anything but by the third day some of the swelling had gone down so he could see a little out of his left eye!

Got to love Texas women!

Dancing Pink Elephant

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Ooooo, look what I did

I've modified one of the templates using my own backgrounds and color schemes. The new paint job is fairly easy on my eyes using my computer at home, but that doesn't really tell me anything. Not every monitor/graphics card combination is tuned the way mine is, so I've asked a few friends to pop in and critique the decor by leaving comments. That's right. Leave comments! I need to make sure I plastered all the holes on those walls as well and I just plain refuse to comment one of my own posts.

Background graphic used for this version of my web log This is the background I used for the version of my blog active today. It can be found at Graphics From Glynn Garthold and is one of my designs.

Momma, can you see me?

BBC NEWS | Technology | Inventor plans 'invisible walls'

While in theory this is the coolest thing, I found it just the tiniest bit disturbing. Being a paranoid from way back before time existed, I couldn't really come up with anything I would call a positive for this technology. The first thought that popped into my head was invisible stalker and I don't mean the D&D kind. Even the potential "espionage and military purposes" vaguely hinted at in the article scream invasion of privacy and personal integrity.

I'm all for bringing the outside in, but I'd rather it be done some other way.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The last word

You didn't really believe that, did you?

The Braying Jackass and his nasty little worm managed to infect another computer. This computer was apparently let loose in the wild without benefit of anti-virus software to protect its itty bitty self from all the bad people in the world.

But the workday is done and I am about to sit myself before the Great Mind Numbing Machine to unwind. I'm sure I can find some pleasant background noise to keep me company while I read and snuggle with the cats.

And speaking of cats, I'll leave you with the image of what an intrigued kitten looks like from behind . . .

Mouse being intrigued by something out of camera range
(Mouse, picture taken June 10, 2004)

Equine posterior . . . or something like . . .

I'd like to take a moment to thank the inconsiderate, immature, self-absorbed Braying Jackass who wrote the W32.Erkez.B@mm worm. We need more people like him so people like me can invest a morning removing the infection from the one computer in the company that doesn't have its virus protection turned on and checking every other computer and server on the network to make sure the worm hasn't dug in somehow elsewhere.

Thanks, dude!

And something else . . .

Wow! I was awakened very early this morning by the sound of rain pouring on my roof and thunder knocking at my door. It's eased up a bit now but it was quite ferocious at around 4 a.m. when I first awakened. We've had so much rain this year it appears Mother Nature is trying to make amends for the dryish year or two she gave us last.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Just thought of something

It would be terribly remiss of me if I didn't let everyone know about the place I spend most of my online time. That place is Shadowmarch. I invite you to drop in and visit. The site is graciously hosted by the man we Smarchers call the Dogly One, but who is better known to the rest of the world as Tad Williams, the author of The War of the Flowers and the forthcoming Shadowmarch.


Saying something . . .

Well . . . something . . .

Having said that, I'm now at a loss what to say in this my first blog entry. That, of course, is a fairly unusual happenstance for me. For the sake of argument, let's just say I've said something and let it go at that until I really have something to say. Yes, definitely, that just about says it all.

Ta for the time being . . .

Thursday, June 03, 2004

30th Anniversary DAW Fantasy30th Anniversary DAW Fantasy by Elizabeth R. Wollheim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There were three stories I particularly liked for no better reason than they suited the mood I was in when I was reading them. They are by no means the only good ones in the book, but they were the ones I felt a resonance with. Ending and Beginning, by Jennifer Roberson, is set in her new world about which she is currently penning her first novel. I also enjoyed A Perfect Day in Valdemar by Larry Dixon. In and of itself the story was excellent, but even if it hadn't been, this is one of those stories where the end would justify the means. And lastly, I enjoyed Lynn Abbey's It's About Squirrels . . .. It's an urban fantasy involving Florida, pallbearer squirrels, and a crashed hard drive. What more could you want in a story?